Gauteng Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi says preliminary investigations reveal that food poisoning may be the cause of the deaths of two siblings from the Khumalo Primary school in Katlehong East of Johannesburg.

Lesufi says food eaten by the three children has been taken in for testing.

On Tuesday the two learners became ill and were rushed to hospital where they were declared deceased. All three complained of stomach cramps and nausea.

“We had a session with the parents, the doctors have assured them that they have identified what was the problem. Well the story we received is that they had chicken and pap for dinner early in the morning. The mother prepared the leftovers of that meal and just shortly after 8 o’clock they started to complain. That information was given over to the police. The police have also assisted us to just track some of the remaining foods, so that we can hand over to our forensic investigators led by the department of health. And on the basis of that we felt that we also need to have just an independent forensic unit just to trace the last steps of the children to determine what caused everything.”

The mother of the two children says they had a promising future.

33-year-old Phumzile Mbatha says Sabelo and Sanele (aged 10 and seven) fell ill whilst at school and were taken to the local clinic where they both died.

The third child, five-years-old, is still in the intensive care unit, on Wednesday at the Thelle Mogoerane hospital on Gauteng’s East Rand.

All three complained of stomach cramps and nausea.